Don’t supersize your home

After selecting the ideal location, avoiding a supersize home is the next most important thing. In general, an apartment in town is good, while a large house in the suburbs is bad. If you are a proud citizen of suburbia, please keep an open mind and see if these arguments make sense to you.

Money

A home is a very costly thing. It is expensive to buy, expensive to maintain and expensive to furnish. Downsizing your home will save you money on all of these fronts.

Yes, buying in a central location will probably be substantially more expensive per square foot/meter than the suburbs, but you will save a lot in terms of transportation costs. For example, if you buy centrally and manage to ditch one of your cars for a bicycle and/or public transport, you can easily save $5000/year. Such a saving will allow you to afford up to $100000 more on your mortgage.

Time

A big home consumes lots of time to clean and maintain. If this big home is located in the suburbs, you will waste even more time driving to work or the mall or your kids’ school. Americans spend a rather ridiculous average of 2 hours per day in a car. Another 1 hour per day can easily be lost to cleaning and maintenance of a big house and garden.

Buying a smaller home in a central location can easily shave this big chunk of wasted time from 3 hours to 1 hour. So, if you are awake for 16 hours per day, this simple act can literally give you 12.5% more time to live.

Environment

A big house has a big carbon footprint. Not only does it need lots of electricity and other fuels to run and heat/cool, but it also consumes lots of energy and materials during the construction process. For interested readers, I previously calculated that saving energy and emissions by buying a smaller home is massively profitable. As an example, reducing your home size by only 100 square feet (5.6% reduction for the average American) will save 1150 kWh/year. This means a saving of $805 and half a ton of CO2 every year.

Happiness

Happiness is of course much more subjective than the previous three topics. Many people may think that the perceived status or space afforded by a big home will bring them happiness, but I don’t think this is true. More time, more money, less clutter and a clear environmental conscience will make me a lot happier than the perceived status of a big home. Think carefully about this. Is that big home really worth it?

Filed under: Home

PS: Why should you take lifestyle advice from a random guy on the internet? Good question. Take a look at the effects that these guidelines had on my life and decide for yourself.

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